British Telecom (BT) is one of the UK’s most well-known brands alongside other beloved national institutions like the NHS and the Post Office. The company can trace its roots back to 1846 and has been a major provider of network infrastructure and solutions at home and abroad ever since. Notably, acquiring EE in 2015.
However, the UK broadband market has been highly competitive in recent years as new service providers seek to establish regional leads by building their own fibre networks. Keen to keep pace with competitors, BT wanted to modernise its customer buying journey. So, in 2021, BT decided to undergo a major corporate restructuring coupled with a digital transformation project.
The aim was to reimagine its operations and customer service, including its customer buying journey. As a result, BT reached out to Accenture, a leading IT and business consulting firm, to redesign its digital operations and streamline customer interactions.
Digital transformation projects amid large companies can be lengthy and complex processes at the best of times. However, BT’s wider restructuring added further pressures to the project.
So in late 2021, Accenture invited external parties like Future Platforms, a digital product agency, to provide added digital transformation support. Working with 250 other team members across BT and Accenture, we were assigned one of the early stages of the in-house customer buying journey: the product picker.
Under BT’s then current system, customer service agents would have to look up different data sources of related pieces of information. For example, product, pricing and contract information were kept separate.
So, the main aim of streamlining the customer buying journey was to aggregate information into one portal to save time and make the sales process easier. This would help simplify how service agents could customise transactions and communicate deals to customers ahead of purchasing.
What we delivered
Working with developers from Accenture, we assembled a dedicated team to tackle the project. This included two designers and a tech lead to understand both the design and software requirements, as well as a project manager to keep things on track.
After a brief onboarding period to get to grips with BT’s existing system versus competitor products in October 2021, we began working on ways to redesign the product picker in line with the project vision. This onboarding process also included visiting a physical EE store to see what the customer buying journey looked like in-person.
Early on, we flagged a gap in the brief. Namely, a lack of information around users’ experience within BT’s current platform. So, we interviewed around a dozen customer service agents to gather information on how they tailored the customer buying journey to each transaction and what pain points they experienced along the way.
Then, using Salesforce’s Lightning app design system, we assembled a new user interface. Crucially, we made sure to use as little custom components as possible to maximise the digital transformation support we provided. Specifically, this helped reduce software bloat and strengthen compatibility across the remainder of the customer buying journey.
Once we assembled a minimum-viable product (MVP), we spoke to the same group of users later on to gather even more feedback. This time on how we could improve the new customer buying journey even more. Doing so allowed us to gather user testing data and identify training gaps before launch. Users’ feedback was largely positive but we re-worked the design to action their remaining needs.
In full, the whole process took around six months to complete, and we delivered our product picker section to the wider Accenture and BT team in February 2022 on time and to budget.
Like all our client work, we had a maintenance and reporting contract in place throughout the project. This included regular reporting on key project milestones and proposed integrations needed for the design. As a result, Accenture and BT could compare our progress with the wider team and identify potential compatibility issues affecting the project before they became critical.
To ensure well-defined and well-planned work, we use our standard process of Discover, Define and Deliver. This allows budgets to be planned and approved based on known deliverables.
Future Platforms works on Time & Materials, with regular open reporting on past and forecast burn, to ensure that resources are directed cost-effectively. Running projects using agile scrum boards ensures developers always have access to tasks. This allowed BT and Accenture to easily view what was planned in each sprint.
Towards the end of the project, we used the rest of the retainer agreement to provide added digital transformation support. Despite only being tasked with working on one section of the customer buying journey, we provided design assets in Figma for the rest of the process, so they could be replicated and deployed with other teams involved.